Stefanie Fox Jackson, founder of Talent Match.  

Stefanie Fox Jackson, founder of Talent Match. 

The Coronavirus global pandemic has created an incredible disruption for the beauty industry.

For many salon owners, their staff has been one of the major disruption points. Salons have lost staff and gained staff over the last 10 months.

In the pre-pandemic world, the hardest part of team building was finding new staff members--keeping those staff members came in a close second.

The two team building difficulties now sit neck and neck, as salons everywhere have seen the pandemic act as a catalyst to some of our industries preexisting staffing challenges.

Team building lives at the top of our challenge list as salon owners.

Wherever you sit with team building in your business today, you know that what you’ve done in the past to attract stylists isn’t working anymore. What used to keep your team members sticking around in the long term, has also changed.

Our workforce is different. The only way to find out what this new salon workforce wants and needs, is to ask them

Let’s take a look at what they had to say in my 2020 Salon Workforce Report where 20,000 stylists weighed in. (View the Full Report Here)

67% want to work in a salon as an employee right after school

Cue the cheering! This is great news! It means that we have a large captive audience to attract to our businesses. The work is understanding “how” we attract them.

After stylists work for you at a salon, 71% want to work for themselves eventually.

If you are a salon owner, you know that this is what keeps every one of us up at night. It’s what makes you want to give the keys away some days.

In the survey I asked why stylists want to work for themselves - and it’s exactly what we already know:

  1. I want flexibility
  2. I want to work for myself
  3. I want to make more money

But don’t be discouraged just yet. Of the 71% who said they want to leave eventually, 89% said they would stay IF the salon could meet all of their needs.

If we can capture what stylists perceive their needs to be and fulfill them, we could solve one of the biggest headaches (and heartaches) salon owners face- keeping stylists long term.

Let’s go back to the reasons why stylists want to leave and break them down as a starting place for solving this problem.

The top 3 reasons stylists want to leave is broken down like this:

  • 45% want more flexibility
  • 35% want to work for themselves
  • 23% want to make more money

The exciting part of this data is we can painlessly / effortlessly solve for 2 of the 3 reasons!

The desire for more flexibility and the ability to earn more money make up 68% of the reasons stylists think they need to leave our salons to work independently.

The pandemic is already equipping us with what we need to make flexibility a reality. Over the past year, we have had to shorten, lengthen, and adjust schedules across the board to accommodate state restrictions, school schedules, employee availability, and more. We have experienced a crash course in solving for this challenge.

I know you are capable of digging in deeper to find the solution to make your staff want to stick around longer. Now that we know exactly how critical meeting our employee needs is to long-term retention, we can’t afford to ignore them.


How do we solve for helping stylists make more money?

This one is a bit trickier, but I believe it can be solved with a focus in three areas.

  1. Your salon brand can focus on marketing skills to drive more new clients into the door.
  2. You can hone your leadership skills and become a better coach to your team.
  3. You can work with your team to get more focused on measurable results and understand their behaviors and actions that drive them. 

Money increases when we have more clients. New clients spend more and they come in more often than existing guests. We need to be teaching our team exactly how to make each of those things occur.

Another factor stylists’ defined as being critical to them wanting to stay at a salon long term was their leadership.

91% said that they want their manager to feel like their friend AND still give them performance feedback.


Initially a response to this data can be, “I don’t want to be friends with my team, I’m their boss.”

That just doesn’t work anymore. What can work is thinking about what friendship actually means in the context of their needs.

When today’s workforce says “friendship,” we can translate it to mean relationship. They want to be in relationship with you because they need to know you care before you start giving them professional feedback.

Consider the following traits of a quality relationship and what they look like in your relationship with your stylists:

  1. Trust
  2. Communication
  3. Respect
  4. Connection

As a salon leader you need to be investing in building these relationship traits with each of your team members. This will set the stage for you to give them exactly what they are asking for: friendship and feedback.  

About the Author: Stefanie Fox Jackson is a former salon owner and is the founder of Talent Match. You can learn more about Stefanie Fox Jackson and her business Talent Match by visiting her website or following her on Linked or Instagram


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